Friday, 4 February 2011

Newcastle Preview

Newcastle Preview
So tomorrow we embark on a trip to the North East (well you lot do). A ground that traditional gives us a point but that would be a disappointing if that became a reality at 16:55 tomorrow. I was quite surprised to read that we have only lost 2 in the last 16 games with Newcastle in the Premier League; given that fact it can be a tricky place to go. Tomorrow though, we embark on a ground of uncertainty.
Missing Men
Their real focal point tomorrow is the departure of their talisman Andy Carroll, whilst many of us cannot believe the sum of money paid for him, the Geordies are left wondering if they’ll ever see any of it. It’s a glorious sum of cash but it’s merely a figure if it’s never reinvested. This could lead to their fans to turning against Ashley for the 475th time, especially if they are as blunt in attack as they were against Fulham.

We also are missing our main man in the form of Samir Nasri. We lost our way against Everton until the introduction of Arshavin and then we had a lot more purpose about us. Nasri’s creativity will be a certain miss but this is an opportunity for Arshavin. If he plays tomorrow he’ll go up against Danny Simpson, a definite weak link in the Newcastle defence and he should get change out of him.
Alex Song will also be a loss, we have only played 2 league games without him and I’m not sure we’ll know how to play the midfield 3 without him. It’s a tossup between Diaby and Rosicky and I expect after Diaby’s last performance at SJP that’ll see him get the nod. Who then becomes of the anchor of the midfield? Jack? I can see this leading to some disjointed play but we have more than enough ability to make up for that.
Match up of the Day
Theo Walcott has an intriguing battle on his hands. He was kept relatively quiet at The Emirates against Enrique and he’ll need to be on top form tomorrow if he’s to get any joy. Theo could do with more of the runs that he made in the Carling Cup game ( ) to get at their centre halves (Williamson & Campbell) as they clearly lack pace. Enrique is deceptively quick and Theo needs to use a few tricks if he’s to outplay him tomorrow.
Key Men
Newcastle’s main man for me is Joey Barton. He’s been playing extremely well this season and any set piece we concede we are going to have to defend well. It’s possibly Newcastle’s most likely route to goal, It certainly was in our last match up. His range of passing isn’t bad either; his only trouble tomorrow is who gets on the end of them, without Carroll goals are harder to come by.
Our main man has to be the inform Robin Van Persie. He may have a lone role tomorrow but we must ensure we get the ball to his feet. He’ll win little in the air but he makes the ball stick on the deck and our team isn’t slow in catching up with play. I also think I’m right in saying RVP hasn’t scored at SJP yet, so no time like the present. On Tuesday, we looked far more dangerous when we put Bendtner and Van Persie upfront and I would like to see us use that approach tomorrow. That unfortunately won’t happen but it’s an option that we’ll use without a moment’s hesitation and it certainly seemed to work well.
Prediction (or not)
An early goal would be fantastic tomorrow. However, if that doesn’t come and we stick to our game chances will certainly come our way. Our defence has been quite solid of late and it goes up against Lovenkrands and Best tomorrow, read into that what you will. We’ll have enough on our bench to change it if things aren’t going to plan. I’ll stop shy of giving you a score line but a Newcastle Season Ticket holder of many season prior to Keegan becoming manager told me he expects a 3-0 Arsenal win and who am I to disagree?

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